Eat half - Efficient fat loss?

You've probably heard the phrase "eat half" when it comes to reducing weight or melting fat pads. But is a diet really as simple as it sounds and really suitable for efficient fat reduction? You can get the answers here.

How does a eat half diet work?

As simple as the "eat half" diet sounds, it actually is. In principle, every meal consumed during the day is simply halved, so that you consistently consume only half the usual calories. A diet is only effective by reducing the calorie intake, because there are otherwise no other requirements from which food these calories should be composed or when they are consumed. Since you reduce your previous energy intake by 50% during the diet, you quickly get into a calorie deficit and begin to lose weight. If you follow this diet consistently, you can lose weight quickly and effectively. Whether this is always a healthy or efficient fat reduction, can be doubted. To understand this better, we take a quick look at the energy balance. 

The energy balance

In order to manage your everyday life, you need energy in the form of food. The amount of energy required varies from person to person and depends very much on your metabolism. The daily energy turnover is composed of your basal metabolic rate (body functions) and your work turnover (movement). The calculator gives you an orientation on how much energy you consume each day.  A 75 kilogram heavy and 1.75 meter tall man with a 40-hour week of office work and 3 times a week sport consumes approx. 2500 kcal per day.

For example, 1 kg of body fat provides about 7000 kcal. (Martin, Daniel, Drinkwater, & Clarys, 1994). This means that if you stay 500 kcal daily below your daily requirement, you will lose 500 grams of body fat (3500 kcal) per week (Wang, Heshka, Zhang, Boozer, & Heymsfield, 2001). Over time, however, your body adapts to the calorie deficit and becomes more economical. Your basal metabolic rate drops and so does your daily energy requirement (Rosenbaum, et al., 2003). As a result, you would have to eat less and less to ensure a constant reduction in fat.

Even with a "eat half" diet, the body gradually adapts to the lower calorie intake and reduces its basal metabolic rate. The dangerous thing about this diet is that with such a drastic reduction in calories, there is a danger that your body will also drastically reduce its calorie requirements. This can lead to headaches, cravings, dizziness or concentration problems. 

The following figure shows an exemplary diet:  

As you can see, calorie consumption (basal metabolic rate + work metabolic ate) decreases steadily during the diet because the body reduces its basal metabolic rate and can fall below energy intake after a few weeks. From this point on, there is no more weight loss. With a "eat half" diet, there is a very high risk that the body will reduce its turnover very quickly because the calorie intake is drastically and radically reduced. This can not only be unhealthy, but can also lead to a strong yo-yo effect after a diet. If you start to increase your calorie intake towards your normal energy intake again, the difference to your lower basal metabolic rate will be all the greater and you will quickly gain weight again. 

Quite apart from the yo-yo effect and your reduced basal metabolic rate, which in principle is a feature of every diet, you should be careful when planning this type of diet, especially for another reason. The "eat half" diet is popular with many because it is simple, but it is this simplicity that can quickly become fatal. Diet and nutrition should always be about one thing: Your health. If your diet is basically made up of unhealthy foods, you will not change your nutritional quality by following this diet. Before you start a diet, it is much more important to consider what you eat. So you should first create the basis for a healthy and balanced diet and then lower your calorie intake. Consider whether you should first reduce or eliminate the unhealthy components of your diet and then devote yourself to foods that provide you with important nutrients. Of course, the usual suspects of an unhealthy diet such as fast food, sweets and above all soft drinks are best suited for a reduction. This alone makes it possible to reduce your weight in the long run. So you can gradually reduce your calories and also prevent your body from falling into the above-mentioned emergency situation and begin to reduce its calorie consumption abruptly. 


In summary, it should be pointed out once again that a "eat half" diet can achieve considerable success in losing weight, even if the body, as with any diet, slowly but surely reduces its basal metabolic rate. However, halving one's calorie intake in one fell swoop carries the risk of the body falling into a kind of emergency situation which not only can lead to discomfort but also makes it difficult to maintain the diet for a long time. Also, there is a lack of attention to a high quality nutrition, which should be the cornerstone of any diet. 

But if you already have a balanced nutrition, a "eat half" diet can be effective for losing weight quickly. Most diets work as long as you follow them. Ultimately, you have to try for yourself how your body reacts to such a strong calorie reduction and how you feel about it.

Regardless of the type of diet you are aiming for, as a sports scientist I can of course only recommend that you exercise sufficiently. Above all, a combination of strength training and endurance sports has not only proven to be beneficial to health, but is also very effective in reducing fat. 


Marc Neuhoff (CEO)

Marc graduated from the DSHS Cologne and the KIT with a master's degree in sports science. His personal trainer background and more than 14 years of training experience contribute to his expertise.